What will it look like when President Ramaphosa has delivered?


More South Africans, probably than ever before, watched the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Friday night, hoping that our new President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa would deliver a message of hope, a message of clear priorities, a message of delivery, and a message of action.

He didn’t fail us.

Business Day listed the top 12 priorities contained in SONA

“Actions speak louder than words” comes to mind when listening to politicians preach from on high

SCORECARD: Targets and Measures of Success

Below you will find the BD  12 priorities each containing MY measures of success against a pessimistic, realistic and optimistic ‘achievement’ target. A five-year horizon has been set ‘till 2023

 This is my scorecard of what it would look like if our new President delivers on his priorities in his “New age of Hope in which we all work together”.

By Steuart Pennington

SONA Priorities   Targets 2023
Deliverables Success Measures Pessimistic Realistic Optimistic
1. Jobs
There will be a jobs summit this year‚ an investment conference within three months and urgent action on youth unemployment‚ which Ramaphosa described as “our most grave and pressing challenge”.
Conference takes place before end May. Government backs Business Leadership’s youth employment service (YES) program. Policy certainty in manufacturing, mining, agricultural sectors 1 million new jobs 2 million new jobs 3 million new jobs
2. Young people
A youth working group, representative of all young South Africans, will be set up “to ensure that our policies and programmes advance their interests”.
Non-racial working group set up before end-September with internship and apprenticeship proposals submitted 2 million interns, apprentices placed with chaotic unqualified admin. 3.5 million interns, apprentices placed with sound but qualified admin 5 million interns, apprentices placed with unqualified audit of admin performance
3. Infrastructure
“I will assemble a team to speed up implementation of new projects‚ particularly water projects‚ health facilities and road maintenance.”
Government’s R900 billion infrastructure commitment is ethically allocated to top 20 priorities SA’ GCR* infrastructure ranking improves 5 positions SA’ GCR* infrastructure ranking improves 10 positions SA’ GCR* infrastructure ranking improves 15 positions
4. Mining
Ramaphosa said mining should be seen as a sunrise industry. “I am certain we will be able to resolve the current impasse and agree on a mining charter that both accelerates transformation and grows this vital sector of our economy.”
Current Minister of Mining, Minister Zwane removed in first Cabinet reshuffle. Mining charter agreed between CoM** and government. International investors applaud policy changes and certainty Local and international investment increases 50% Local and international investment increases 80% Local and international investment increases 120%
5. Land redistribution
“[Our] approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation.”
Comprehensive land audit detailing state ownership, tribal trust ownership and productive land ownership concluded by end 2018 with clear guidelines on land expropriation process AgriSA expresses anxiety of process, threatens court action

Agricultural output and food security measures improve by <30%

AgriSA expresses confidence in process.

Agricultural output and food security measures improve by 50%

AgriSA expresses confidence and collaborates with process.

Agricultural output and food security measures improve by 80%

6. Technology
“We will soon establish a digital industrial revolution commission‚ which will include the private sector and civil society.”
Commission established before end-2018 SA internet costs remain in highest 30% globally

GCR* ‘Use of Technology’ ranking improves 10 positions

SA internet costs remain in highest 50% globally

GCR* ‘Use of Technology’ ranking improves 15 positions

SA internet costs are amongst the lowest 30% globally

GCR* ‘Use of Technology’ ranking improves 20 positions

7. The economy
A presidential economic advisory council “will draw on the expertise and capabilities that reside in labour‚ business‚ civil society and academia”.
An Economic CODESA is Convened before end-2018 at which a growth path is agreed including the key targets for debt, deficit, and inflation. No further ratings agency downgrades. GDP growth <3%


Deficit > 5%

Inflation  >6%

GDP growth >3.5%


Deficit <3.5%

Inflation  <5%

GDP growth >5%


Deficit <2.5%

Inflation  <3%

8. Health
An extra 2-million HIV-positive people will be on antiretrovirals by 2020; a “huge” cancer prevention campaign will be launched in the next three months; and the National Health Insurance Bill will be submitted to Parliament within a few weeks.
A health sector audit reveals adequate staffing in our hospitals and clinics; Cost-effective, reliable pay-outs systems for children, pensioners and the disabled. The private sector healthcare industry supports the NHI. Antiretroviral an cancer prevention targets agreed. 2020 targets met. The health sector audits reveals a staffing crisis. The private sector healthcare industry critical of NHI 2020 targets met. Ongoing health sector audit reveals significant improvement in hospital and clinics staffing. Private sector on board with NHI 2020 targets met and exceeded. Ministry of Health receives A+ rating In annual audit of government performance. Private sector collaboration with NHI
9. Government restructuring
“We will initiate a process to review the configuration‚ number and size of national government departments.”
Cabinet re-shuffle results in removal of all GUPTA connected ministers. Annual ratings of government Ministry performance improves year on year. Number of government departments reduced to 32 Number of government departments reduced to 28 Number of government departments reduced to 22
10. State-owned enterprises
“The recent action we have taken at Eskom to strengthen governance‚ root out corruption and restore its financial position is just the beginning.”
Business Leadership South Africa endorses government action in respect of SOEs SOE’s have new ethical boards, but with ongoing corruption challenges and show little evidence of reducing debt and improving profitability SOE’s have new ethical boards, have largely rooted out corruption and show significant evidence of reducing debt and improving profitability SOE’s have new ethical boards, no corruption and are being managed profitability
11. Justice
“We will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the National Prosecuting Authority.”
Shaun Abrahams’ term at the NPA is concluded and new leadership is installed with a clear mandate to take action against all involved in Sate Capture Proceedings commence, but ANC in-fighting remains a major obstacle Proceedings commence against all ministers involved in GUPTA leaks Proceedings commence against all govt. employees involved in GUPTA leaks with several convictions likely
12. The South African Revenue Service
A commission of inquiry will “ensure that we restore the credibility of the service and strengthen its capacity to meet its revenue targets”.
The commission of enquiry established during 2018. Current leadership replaced SA forced to increase its borrowings because of revenue collection short-fall SA improves revenue collection in the context of improved economic growth, reducing debt and lowering the deficit SA meets its revenue collection targets,  reduces debt to 35% and the deficit to 2 ½%.

There are two well-established management clichés that apply “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it” and ” what’s important is measured, and what’s measured becomes important”.

I have attempted to articulate the important measures for us as citizens of South Africa

I understand that Mr. Ramaphosa has a deep respect for process, and will allow it to take its course. I also understand that delivering within the context of the constitution is a key priority. In fact one of Mr. Ramaphosa’s hobbies is the study of constitutions. My sense is that he will only use political levers when there is no other option.

Let’s see what happens in the unfolding months – let’s see if actions are indeed louder than words and we do genuinely enter  a new era of HOPE.

  • *GCR = Global Competitiveness Report published annually by World Economic Forum comparing competitiveness of 140 countries ranked by GDP
  • **CoM = Chamber of Mines